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La Caridad on 78th and Broadway Gone?

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There are mixed messages. Notices on the door say that the restaurant is undergoing renovations and will reopen in early October. A huge "For Rent" sign tells a different story. There have been diminishing crowds there when I've walked past it. And although I was never fond of the food (haven't eaten there in at least ten years), it was a neighborhood fixture.

Any Chowhounds know what the story is?

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  1. Gone - Also gone is a so-so Monsoon a few blocks off on Amsterdam :)

    1. Not only is it no great loss, it's no loss at all except to those who wanted lots of food for relatively little money and didn't much care how it tasted. I'm afraid to even guess what's going to take over that space...

      1. la caridad went way downhill sometime after the millenium. it used to be fairly good and unique- a combination of cuban and chinese cuisine under one roof with large portions and reasonable prices. but on my last visit there in december of 2005-it was awful.. the beef chow fun and sesame chicken arrived ice-cold and had to be reheated. only good thing about our meal was the chinese beer.

        1. vegtable bean curd soup. yummy, delicious, & nutricious. I'm really sad to see this post. not vouching for all of their vast menu but there were gems.

          1. Well and truly gone, from what I understand. A friend in the know thinks they might reopen in the Bronx, but who knows?

            Nosher

            NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

            1. I'm sorry to read that it's not re-opening. It was part of my "rotation" of delivery on the UWS...as was Moonsoon! Although it wasn't high end, the rice, beans, and pepper steak were quite good. Any recomendations on where I can get similar food in the neighboorhood.? Also, Monsoon had a coconut curry soup with shrimp and thin noodles that was my favorite soup in the area....pretty spicy. Any recs on where I can get great soup in the hood would be appreciated. Thanks.

              5 Replies
              1. re: hesse23

                My two favorite takeout/delivery soups in the area are within a few blocks of each other on Amsterdam. Flor de Mayo has excellent spicy Peruvian soups (including parihuela on weekends), but not every day. They are "specials," but on a regular rotation. And Ali Baba, on 85th, has homey soups. I especially like the chicken soup.

                1. re: hesse23

                  I know exactly the soup you're talking about. I used to order it for lunch often and have not been able to find another place that does it quite the way Monsoon did. The only place that comes close is Malaysia Grill on Bdwy and 87th, the former spot of Saigon Grill. Speaking of which, that's another place you can check out--Saigon Grill (3 locations: 90th Amsterdam, University Place, and the UES one currently being renovated). It has a good La Sa Tom.

                  I always thought that Saigon and Malaysia Grill are owned by the same people. Does anyone know? Also, whatever happened to Monsoon? I haven't been in a while but business seemed pretty steady.

                  1. re: gloriousfood

                    I can't help too much. I have a feeling that Malaysia Grill is owned by the Saigon Grill folks. Note the smooth way in which MG opened up very quickly after SG relocated.

                    Right after Moonsoon closed, there was a lot of work being done inside. It seems to have stopped, which is why I fear the worst.

                    1. re: gloriousfood

                      I happened upon a former waiter from Monsoon at the new University Place Saigon Grill. He said that Monsoon was still going strong, but the landlord wanted to impose a significant rent increase (a continuing sad standard Manhattan story these days - but, hey ... at least we might have one MORE bank branch location!?!)

                      Interestingly enough, it seems as at least one of the cooks has also moved to Saigon Grill.

                      Also, at least on of the owners of Saigon, was formerly ("in the old days") a waiter at Monsoon.

                      1. re: gloriousfood

                        Saigon Grill actually makes the exact same soup, not as spicy but really good. My wife and I are pretty excited heading into the colder weather months.

                    2. Dinastia on 72nd is at worst, no worse than La Caridad, usually a bit better. (But then, I thought LC was really, really bad within its "genre".) I only at Monsoon once so I don't know that soup, but while they're nothing like what you describe, but China Fun's noodle soups are good.

                      I am sorry to see another neighborhood closing (and presumable replacement with some overpriced, trend-oid business of whatever sort), but I really can't shed any tears of the loss of their food. I wanted to like it when I moved into the neighborhood (15+ years ago), but I've come to the conclusion that the Cuban-Chinese food phenomenon is now a historical one. RIP.

                      In a similar vein, anyone noticed that now ALL the businesses (most were food related) in the building on the SW corner of Bway & 72nd are gone? I can only imagine what's going to become of that.(sigh)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MikeG

                        I know someone who was a tenant in that building - guess what? It's going to be another overpriced luxury apartment building that no one will be able to afford! No word yet on whether there will be retail/restaurant space.

                      2. Actually, the news may not be so bad after all, either from the food or neighborhood business standpoint, depending on your perspective.

                        I just walked by and from the juxtaposition of the two signs, I suspect they may just be giving up the "second" dining room they added a while back (> 5, < 10 years ago) The "renovation" sign is on the original storefront on the corner, but the "for rent" sign is squarely in front of only that second space. It may just be that the "renovations" are mostly closing back off the walkway they had to make to connect the two spaces in the first place.

                        1. I would like to add to MikeG's post - there continue to be renovations in the orignal space and new window signs have gone up in the original windows.

                          All is not lost (and I liked their spare-ribs for a quick fix)

                          1. Re the condos. Surprise, surprise... this neighborhood is really going to the dogs, even if they are expensive show animals... Blech.

                            1. Additional information that La Caridad will re-open is that the signs along 78th street have not been taken down

                              1. I walked by the shuttered La Caridad 78 last night. There is now a small sign on the original part of the store that says they are renovating and expect to re-open the first or second week of October.

                                1. That was the sign I saw a couple of days ago. Guess we'll just have to let them figure out what's going on, and wait & see...

                                  1. Not gone but renovating, according to yesterday's New York Times. I passed there last week and saw a "For Rent" sign and I thought it was gone for good. But according to the Times, that sign applies only to the southern half of the restaurant. When they reopen in a few weeks, they will be smaller.

                                    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/04/din...

                                    1. Just walked past about an hour ago and a sign on the door says they're reopening tomorro, October 7. Looked as though they are indeed closing down the section they opened a few years ago and will just be occupying the original space.

                                      The food there had gone downhill significantly in the past few years. Fingers crossed that this change will be more than just decorative. Hope someone tries it out soon (falls on their sword for the rest of us? LOL) and let's us know.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: JoanN

                                        i was in manhattan on thursday evening and passed by la caridad 78. i am wondering if anyone knows if their quality has improved from their previously awful offerings.

                                      2. That makes sense. They were really crowded there for a while (which I always thought was bizarre) but it only lasted a year or two and then that second dining room was mostly empty, most of the time. Insane Manhattan commercial rent or not, that had to be burning a big hole in their bottom line.

                                        1. La Caridad is open again! I ordered from there tonight, food was the same, nice to have back in my rotation.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: hesse23

                                            what does that mean "the same"? has there been any significant improvement or is it the same horrid slop i had back in december of 2005? i really hope that the renovation has been more than just "cosmetic".

                                          2. I generally eat the same basic things, pepper steak with yellow rice and black beans, plantains...I liked it before they renovated.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: hesse23

                                              so its now even more mediocre at a higher price? :(

                                            2. If you walk north on Broadway from LaC, you'll pass 3 or 4 other places with the same name by the time you hit the Bronx. No relation to the one on 78th & Bway. Strange huh.

                                              1. I live in the Bronx, and I pass about 4 different places named Caridad in the Bronx on the 2/5 train home. I've passed one or two others in my neighborhood walking around. I don't think they're any relation to each other, or to anything else, except they all sell basic beef/rice/bean dishes...wonder why that particular name is so popular...